Terry Baker shares his memories of his Baltic cruise in May 2003.
Our trip started on Monday May 19th from Vancouver Island. Due to over sales on Air BC from Nanaimo Airport, we decided to take our car and cruise to the mainland on BC Ferries.
We had booked into the Delta Vancouver Airport hotel. The rates quoted were $59.00 CDN and pay our own parking, or $79.00 with free parking for 14 days. We were going to be away for 21 days, so we had a rate of $109.00 with free parking for 21 days. Cost of parking was $7.50 per day!
On Tuesday, we checked in at 09:00 for the 13:40 flight to London, England using our C1 pass. Lucky we were early, as we were advised that the flight had been cancelled due to a lack of interest on behalf of the public – ignoring the fact that 22 cons were listed! The agent suggested going via Calgary and picking up the YYC-LHR flight there. The agent was most helpful and even changed our routing for us.
Our friends collected us from LHR on Wednesday morning, and we spent 3 days with them. On Saturday, we squeezed our suitcases into a Ford Escort; this was a challenge in itself! We drove down to Dover to board our cruise.
|Tivoli Gardens - Copenhagen, Denmark
Photo provided by Bob Sheppard
From Captain Rob Giguere, retired.
Thought your readers might appreciate this additional story about the Boeing 727.
Netletter #1466 had a great story about the B-727 history and it’s last days with Air Canada. Captain Steve Bradley’s last flight on the B-727 wasn’t quite the last revenue flight. When he wrote that story who would have guessed the 727 would have a curtain call.
I offer an epilogue, with a little known add on.
While the last “scheduled” flight was indeed on fin #418 in November 1992, subsequently, aircraft 410, C-GAAJ, Serial #20941 was returned to Air Canada service in the spring of 1993!
Fin #410 was one of the B-727's configured with dual Litton INS navigation and HF radios. It was ideal for outer Caribbean charter ops.
As such, after leaving scheduled service in 1992, fin #410 was sub-leased to a start-up sun-destination charter carrier, 'Destinair' based in Ottawa. In early 1993, “Destinair” failed and the aircraft came back to Air Canada as the lease on the aircraft with Citicorp was still in place.
There were charters to operate, the 727 simulator was still operational and soon a plan was hatched.
I had been one of the last check pilots qualified on the B-727 and was asked to requalify a couple crews in order to put the aircraft back into service. In short order, with a little assistance from Transport Canada, Captain Ken Moe, First Officers Dan Boyd and Gerry Heron, Second Officers Paul Washington and Jim Sullivan and I were all requalified on the B-727.
Through the late spring of 1993 we operated some “pick up” flights of the remaining 'Destinair' charters with fin #410. The flights were all to southern destinations including Montego Bay (MBJ), Puerto Plata (POP), Santo Domingo (SDQ) and San José (SJO).
Although late May was the end of the sun charter season it was the start of the Stanley Cup finals between the Montreal Canadiens and the Los Angeles Kings. On June 4th, Dan Boyd, Paul Washington and I operated a charter for the Canadiens to LAX for games 3 & 4. The series was tied going into the Kings home arena. The Canadiens prevailed winning the 2 games. We returned them from LAX to YUL on June 8th, 1993 for game 5. With the Canadiens winning the Cup on June 9th there was to be no return to LAX for a game 6. The leg LAX-YUL on the 8th June 1993 turned out to be the very last revenue B-727 leg in Air Canada service.
Subsequently, fin #410 was leased to Aerolineas Argentinas for 5 months.
Once again, the aircraft was returned to Air Canada from Aerolineas, in November of 1993.
Although I was now qualified on the A320, once again, I was back in aircraft 410, with Dan Boyd and Gerry Heron ferrying it from Montreal to the aircraft “boneyard“ in Marana, Arizona (MZJ, Pinal Airpark) with a Customs stop enroute. We presumed that flight was the last leg ever for Serial #20941.
Much to my surprise, in mid 1994 I received a call from an aircraft engineer who had seen my name in the logbook as the captain who ferried the aircraft on its last leg to Marana. He wanted to know more about a recurring snag on the #1 RMI as the aircraft was going to be converted to a freighter. Subsequently, the aircraft re-entered service with First Air in Ottawa registered as C-FUFA where it served for another 6 years.
I share Steve Bradley’s 1992 assessment that the B-727 was a great aircraft that served the airline well over a wide route network. The B-727 is fondly remembered by me along with the large cadre of crew that had the privilege to fly it.
Editor's Note by Ken Pickford:Captain Giguere's reference to Fin #410 spending 6 years with First Air appears to be a few years too short. Based on fleet lists, photos and the Transport Canada registration database, it was actually 11 years (1998-2009). Several photos in First Air livery cover that period.
A few photos of Fin #410:
YYZ Aug. 27, 1991.
Val-d'Or (YVO), Nov. 5, 2001
Registration C-FUFA in First Air livery - YVR, July 19, 1999